Denise Mari, Founder of Organic Avenue & Author

on the re-opening of Organic Avenue, her favorite NYC restaurants & veganism


One of my favorite go-to's in NYC for a bite or juice has always been Organic Avenue.  Hands down, it was well established, innovative and jumping before juices became trendy.  This past year, when hearing the news of the store closings, I was devastated!  Of course, there are other places I could go for a smoothie these days, but this was my spot and I know many NYers who felt the same way.  But guess what?  It's back and Founder, Denise Mari, took the time to share details about the new story openings, veganism and her favorite NYC restaurants.

I (like most of NYC) am thrilled to hear about the re-opening of Organic Avenue!  What can we expect?  Anything different?

Yes, constant improvement, constant innovation, new everything! We will relaunch 5 stores... added a Vegan Caffe with an organic espresso bar and use our house-made organic vegan mylks. We have added a marketplace component where we will preview and launch our own Organic Avenue branded products before they go into the national markets, and have all new grab and go meals, a Blend-Bar for the best Pitaya and Acai bowls in NYC! We also brought back the favorites and are even bottling the best cold pressed juice in our signature glass bottles. You can expect amazing service from a sincere team and only the highest quality products, food, experience. AND you can expect surprises. We will steady these 5 stores open and serving the local NYC communities (Chelsea, NoHo, MTE, Bryant, West Village) and then we will make some new announcements about where our focus will be. 

What inspired you to open back in 2002?

The company began in a loft space in the Lower East Side on Ludlow Street. Nearly 4 years before the first ground floor retail store in 2006 (a little further north on Stanton). I was and continue to be inspired simply by 'peace and love' :-) I was fortunate to learn all about the plant-based diet and the vegan consciousness lifestyle. I love animals and I am intrigued by optimal health, longevity and anti-aging. Everything comes together when you look toward a peaceful way of eating low on the so called food chain. This choice, is the single most powerful thing I have done. It is my way of being a part of the solution. I am not contributing to animal torture, suffering and death, I am feeding my body the most nutrient dense optimal food for human being, and in turn I feel I am doing my part for peace. I am inspired to share and help people access the products, foods, and other lifestyle itemsthat help me achieve sustainable health, enjoy life to its fullest and to be active in the solution to the environmental crisis as well. 

How does Organic Avenue keep an edge up on the competition? 

Everyone has their own unique purpose and calling this lifetime. Mine is Organic Avenue and the development of the best version of me possible. I give all of myself to this mission. I am actually happy that many others have followed Organic Avenue and have become inspired to start similar businesses. It is what I want. I want a planet that is thriving and people that are healthy. I believe this way of eating and the consciousness shift that occurs by the personal choice of what to eat and not to eat (a VERY powerful personal choice) makes a huge difference in what type of world we experience. I keep my eye on the obvious trends and the marketplace as a whole yet I know Organic Avenue is the leader, the innovator, the inspiration and has an incredibly strong brand and an incredibly loving and strong following. I am less concerned about so-called competition and more concerned that all people access the information and the products needed to be able to easily, make the transition that is life saving. 

There are so many reasons people turn to veganism, what initially brought you to the lifestyle?

Like every kid, I love/d animals.. I connected on an emotional level and can sense their true nature. To come to learn that I was eating them was a bit traumatic, yet what to do??!.. When immersed in an environment and culture that that is what we do .. I didn't know of my personal choice until I met my first vegetarian. That changed everything. As did when I met my first vegan. I am vegan first because of the animal torture and killing, yet also the environmental destruction goes hand in hand and I love our planet. There are somethings we can control and that is the destruction of our habitat, our air, our water, our life! And it just so happens that research is constantly coming out showing the health benefits of a pure plant-based vegan diet, as well. It's just a win-win-win. I am truly happy that I made the choice that has changed my life, and saved many others along the way.

hat are some of your other places to eat in NYC and beyond?

NYC has many vegan restaurants and many places are now catering to vegan requests. I recently enjoyed (a birthday treat) to Jean George restaurant where I had a 7 course beautifully plated creative vegan meal. In LA, on a recent business trip I enjoyed Crossroads immensely. 

Besides plant based eating, how else do you live beautifully?

I'm human :-) like all and life is stressful! to keep it real and me sane I must meditate. I have a basic lifesaving practice of 11 minutes first AM and last PM. I increase when I feel I need more peace and clarity. I also thoroughly enjoy my little boy, Oliver. He turned 6 and is a treat to spend time with. And I love my home in Westhampton Beach, AKA Mari Manor where I can escape to the beach and nature. Plus I love to travel.  

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten and who was it from?

maybe its said too much .. yet truth is truth. "be the change you wish to see" Ghandi

wasn't directed to me necessarily .. yet resonates loudly and is quite empowering. 

Beauty is ___.